We had the good fortune of connecting with Lindsay Scanlan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lindsay, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Because I discovered, at a young age, the next best thing from eating crayons was making pictures with them. I spent most of my preschool days drawing scribbled marker circles, claiming they were dogs, and getting praise from my teachers. Then I spent elementary school drawing dogs AND cats on the margins of my paper, getting ire from teachers and students alike for not paying enough attention, and then would spend the free reading time in fifth grade writing my own comic books about my cat, and then having to hide them and awkwardly deny their existence before more than a few parent teacher conferences. While I was told to stop drawing comics about cats, I was never told explicitly to stop drawing…so then I drew bugs. And then in middle school, I had new teachers so I went back to drawing cats, giving them butterfly wings, and frustrating a new slew of teachers with it. But I never stopped. I would doodle on my binder dividers in high school, my notes, and even textbooks (I erased those later). Only one time did a teacher forbid me from drawing (jokes on her, I did it anyway). This is a really convoluted way to say I wanted a career in the arts because drawing and storytelling were the two things I never wanted to quit, even if people got mad at me for it, and even if I wasn’t that good at it.
Animation was always dear to me, but I think my true love for the craft came after watching a VHS of My Neighbor Totoro for the first time, and I was transported to the most magical place for a six year old. This wasn’t just my run of the mill Disney or PBS. This was my Awakening.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I don’t quite know what would set me apart from other artists except that everything I create always seems to come out a little…weird. Sometimes things are wonky, like a leg is shorter than the other, or I altogether forget what something looks like, but I try to draw it anyway, and sometimes, people like it. Sometimes they REALLY like it. Or sometimes they hate it. It’s cool though.
Getting where I am now certainly wasn’t easy. I didn’t get into art school on my first try. Not even my second or third. I had to apply to CalArts four times before they got tired of me, and said ‘Fine, you’re in.’ And the school kicked my ass in the best way possible, helping me understand my own art better, and how to improve it. And these days, I’m slowly working my way up to bigger and bigger gigs and opportunities.
If I had one lesson to teach people from this, it’s don’t give up on your dreams, even if stuff is hard. Sometimes, you do have to put your dreams on the backburner if life gets in the way, but don’t let them die.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My best friend already lives near here, but sure.
First I would walk to either Nickelodeon Studio or Walt Disney Studio. It’s great because I live near both of them, and if I walk one direction, I pass one, and if I walk the opposite direction, I pass the other studio. And if you want the cardio and have about three hours of free time to kill, you can walk over I5, into downtown Burbank, and see Cartoon Network Studio.
Sometimes when I am bored, I can drive to the Americana in Glendale, and walk around for a bit, and get a cupcake from the cupcake vending machine, and then get carryout soup dumplings for lunch or dinner.
And if the pandemic finally ****s off, I can take an uber or the redline to Universal Studios or Citywalk.
Somedays, if the weather is nice, I can drive up to Griffith Park for hiking, or further out to Fryman Canyon. I can pack a lunch or a snack and just enjoy the day.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to dedicate this shoutout to my friends at CalArts, especially Erin McDermott, Kat Bell, Chia Hsin-Lee, and Suzannah Rowntree. There are many many others to name, who have all been important wonderful fixtures in my life, and I cherish and love you all.
I would also like to dedicate this to my friends on Discord, especially the one group I stream with most every night, you guys are so dear to me, and you know who you are (I mean that in the most nonthreatening way, promise)
I also thank my family, Mom, Dad, and Jim, and my honorary family members, Carole and Nancy, and my current Burbank family who more or less adopted me into their gaggle of joy.
My teachers at CalArts who never gave up on me, and pushed me to my potential, and sometimes (gently) tore my work apart so I could see the stuff to change, especially Robert Domingo, my mentor.
My dear Arlo, who I would absolutely raze the earth to dust for and is currently biting my leg. You toothy little goblin you.
Last but not least, I dedicate this to the memory of my dear friend Dale L Baer, without whom I would likely not have had the epiphany of how the hell to actually animate. Miss you dearly, Dale.